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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Small Claims Procedure

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Q: What is the purpose of the Small Claims Procedure?

The aim of the Small Claims Procedure (also known as the Small Claims Court) is to provide an inexpensive, fast and easy way for consumers and businesses to resolve disputes without the need to employ a solicitor. Both the person making the claim (the claimant) and the respondent (the person you are claiming against) must be living or based within the State. If either party lives or is based in another EU member state, the European Small Claims Procedure should be used. The small claims procedure is provided by the local District Court offices.

What kind of issues are dealt with through the Small Claims Procedure?

The following types of consumer claims can be dealt with under the Small Claims Procedure:

* Consumer claims such as for faulty goods or bad workmanship. You must have bought the goods or service for private use from someone selling them in the course of business. Claims can also be made for minor damage to your property.
* Claims for the non-return of a rent deposit for certain kinds of rented properties, such as, a holiday home or a flat in a premises where the landlord also lives.
* The claim cannot exceed €2,000.

Are there some consumer claims not covered by the Small Claims Procedure?

Consumer claims cannot be made through the Small Claims Procedure for debts, personal injuries or breach of leasing or hire-purchase agreements.

Is there a fee for making a claim?

The current fee for making a claim through the Small Claims Procedure is €25. This fee is payable by cheque (made out to the Small Claims Registrar) or postal order. The Small Claims Registrar will accept the fee in cash if you pay it in person. If you apply online, you are required to pay online. If your claim is accepted as suitable for the Small Claims Procedure the fee is not refunded, even if your claim is successful.

How do I apply to have a claim dealt with by the Small Claims Procedure?

You can access detailed guidance on how to apply to the Small Claims Registrar on the Courts Service website www.courts.ie. You can print an application for the Small Claims Procedure from the website. This application form is also available from your local Citizens Information Centre or from the local District Court offices. Staff in the District Court office can help in completing the application form. It is important when completing the application form to give all the necessary information. This will help the Small Claims Registrar to process your claim and try and resolve the dispute. If no resolution can be reached, it will also make it easier to enforce a Decree (or court order) if one is granted. You can also make an application for the Small Claims Procedure online. Using Courts Service Online you can create and pay for a small claim application. You can also check the status of your online small claim securely, using a username and password. To create a claim online you need a credit or debit card and an email address to which you have access.

Where do I apply?

The Small Claims Procedure is provided through local District Court offices. You make your claim to the District Court office in the area either where:

* The person you are making a claim against lives or carries on business 
* Where the contract was made 
* Where the damage to property took place

You will find a list of District Court areas on the Court Service website.

What is the European Small Claims Procedure?

The European Small Claims Procedure provides an inexpensive and easy way for someone to pursue a cross-border claim without the need to employ a solicitor. Similar to the Small Claims Court it can be used in civil and in commercial matters. The claim cannot exceed €5,000. It is an alternative to other options that may exist under the national laws of EU member states.

The fee for the European Small Claims Procedure is €25. You may have to pay for the translation of your documents if they are in a language the defendant does not understand. If you win you can claim for such additional costs. If you lose, however, you may have to pay for any translation or other costs incurred by the defendant.

What cases does it apply to?

The procedure applies to cross-border cases. In other words, the party with whom you are in dispute must be domiciled or habitually resident in another member state and you are pursuing the action in Ireland. It allows you, for example, to make a claim in Ireland for a faulty product which you bought online from someone living in another EU country.

How do I apply to the European Small Claims Procedure?

European Small Claims Procedure claim forms are available from your local District Court office. You cannot make a claim online but can download the claim form from the Courts Service website www.courts.ie. You must complete the form, giving details of your claim, the amount you are seeking and any other details required. You must give the name and full physical address of the party you are in dispute with, even if it is an online business.

The completed claim form together with any supporting documentation and the fee must be lodged with the Registrar in the local District Court office.

For more detailed information on the Small Claims Procedure and European Small Claims Procedure, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860. The telephone lines are staffed from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday. The National Phone Service is available on 0818 07 4000 Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm.
Alternatively, you can email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie.

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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